Gmail Tip: Add Special Contacts

I was trying to add my grandparent’s e-mail to my Gmail contact list, but gmail kept telling me "Please make sure the email address you entered is valid."  I figured it probably wouldn’t import it because they were using something of a non-standard address.

eg. name&[email protected]

The culprit here happens to be the ampersand sign.  I realized that gmail also has a contacts import option which allows you to import contacts from a CSV file. A CSV file is essentially just a text file with values separated by commas. It essentially allows you to put tabular data into a non-proprietary format.

Editors Note: There is not supposed to be a space after the ampersand, but for some reason my blog software keeps adding it.

To create the file for Gmail, we can either create the file in a simple text editor like Notepad, or even more simply, create an Excel file and save it as a CSV file.  To do this in excel, simply create the file then when you go to save the file, change the file type to Comma Separated (.CSV). The CSV file needs to have headers for the column names and the data below it.  I’ll show you what my one entry file looked like.


Name Email Address
John Doe

For those of you interested in what the CSV file would look like once saved, it would be:

Name,Email Address
John Doe,John&[email protected]

And now for the import in Gmail. Click Contacts on the left, then click Add Contacts at the top, click Import, click Browse and find the CSV file you created, then click Import Contacts.






2 responses to “Gmail Tip: Add Special Contacts”

  1. Daren Dahl Avatar
    Daren Dahl

    I was having difficulty adding an email address that began with an underscore. This tip worked perfectly. Thanks!

  2. Atlas america Avatar

    I have been trying to figure that one out for awhile now. I imported all but a handful of addresses from Outlook and several of them used the & sign, including the address for my Dental insurance ([url]””[/url]) company, which I need to write to but haven’t been able to. Very helpful.

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